Flower Press

pressed flowers
Some of our pressed flowers.

In the comments to the post below Anne asked about Bella’s flower press. My mom brought it to Bella when she was up for Anthony’s birth. It is one of the best presents ever. (My mom is good like that.)

Sophie with flower press
Sophie with the flower press. It has a very nice brightly painted wooden flower on the top.

I believe my mom got it from a local artisan in my hometown of Austin, a fellow she’s been buying wooden toys from since we were kids. Our kids have a collection of little wooden animals on wheels from the same shop.

So I can’t provide a link to the exact press that we have. But I did find this Flower Press for kids at Amazon that looks like it might be nice. And then there was this site that has a couple of different options that aren’t specifically aimed at kids. (I think I want to get some of those hand lenses. And some of those botany books. And eventually a stereomicroscope.) I’m sure there are more out there; that’s just the first two I found.

Or if you are at all crafty, it wouldn’t be that hard to make one.

It’s basically two pieces of wood, some long bolts and wingnuts, and a bunch of pieces of cardboard and acid-free blotting paper. I think our press has about twelve layers. So that would be two dozen sheets of cardboard and two dozen sheets of blotting paper.

You put a piece of cardboard down in the middle between the bolts, then a piece of blotting paper, then your flower. Then another piece of blotting paper then more cardboard. You can add as many layers as will fit. Then once your flowers are all in place, you put on the top piece of wood and tighten the nuts till everything is smushed flat. The layers of cardboard help air to circulate so flowers dry quickly. The blotting paper keeps the plants from sticking to the cardboard.

The instruction sheet on our press says that it takes about three weeks for plants to dry. So far we’ve done two rounds of drying and have made some lovely pressed flowers.

flower box decoupage
We’re keeping our dried flowers in an old chocolate box that I prettied up with some decoupage. I cut flower pictures out of seed catalogs and stuck them on with Mod Podge. One of those projects I did right before Anthony was born. I was super proud of it and meant to blog about it but somehow that never happened.

As Anne suggests, this is a gift which will require children to cultivate patience. Three weeks can seem a long time to a five year old. Fortunately, Bella doesn’t stress about it. We just put it on the shelf once it’s loaded and she sort of forgets about it. When she remembers, it’s a pleasant surprise.

10 Responses to Flower Press

  1. mothering spirit October 31, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Beautiful reflection. Could I link to it here? http://motheringspirit.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/parenting-in-ordinary-time-31st-sunday/
    I loved how this psalm matched so perfectly with the 2nd reading where Paul describes himself as caring like a nursing mother! We had a crazy day at Mass but all that great Scripture just leapt out at me – thank God. smile

  2. Melanie Bettinelli October 31, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    Oh yes, please do. I love your description of your noisy eaters. My Anthony is like that as well, a noisy gulper and sniffler and snorter. Even worse than usual in the last two weeks when he’s had a cold. And it is so true that there is a great peace and satisfaction in being able to provide for their needs.

    I meant to connect it to the second reading too—I love that passage from St Paul too—but writing time was precious and I felt publishing what I had was better than never publishing at all. I think you did a great job with it.

     

  3. Willa October 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    That’s a beautiful thought about the weaned child.  I always wondered about that Psalm since my weaned children never seem particularly peaceful, but your insight about Ben having access to peace even while distressed makes a lot of sense to me. 

  4. Melanie Bettinelli October 31, 2011 at 2:41 am #

    Willa, I had another thought, which I’ve added to the body of the post but I didn’t want you to miss.

    In his book of meditations about the certainty that he will soon die and leave his children orphans, Leaving My Children Behind, Takashi Nagai reflects that a motherless child doesn’t have the freedom to cry that a child who has a mother does. (In the wake of the bombing of Nagasaki Nagai had chance to observe more than a few orphans.) No, the motherless child knows his cries won’t be heard by a tender motherly ear, there will be no mama’s arms to pick him up and soothe him and so he doesn’t cry with the same abandon, if he cries at all. So a heartily screaming child is one who knows there is a mother nearby who will kiss away his hurts. A complaining cranky child is one who is secure in the knowledge that there is a remedy for his ills.

    So in a sense when we come to God with our troubles, when we whine and snivel and complain to him about all our ills, aren’t we like that child who is certain of his mother’s love that he knows he can slap her and push her away because she will always come back for him with open arms? I think that image fits well with the final line from the psalm exhorting Israel to hope in the Lord. As I re-read the psalm I see that the psalmist specifies that he has stilled and quieted his soul. Definitely it is a work for a two or three year old to find that peace. He has to learn how to put aside his sobbing. How many times have I held my children trying to be patient so that they can learn the art of self-soothing? And I specifically have tried to teach them to turn to prayer, to reach for God in those moments of distress, to find their peace in him. It isn’t an automatic thing at all but a lesson we must learn, how to still our souls so that we can know the peace He offers.

  5. mothering spirit October 31, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    Another interesting point that I meant to add before (but had to go nurse, ironically!) is that I learned in a class on the Psalms that the word “weaned” in this context can refer to both the child who is no longer nursing (as you describe) as well as a nursing child. Apparently “weaning” is a British term for “nursing” – which seems confusing to me, but my professor assured us it was true. So in fact, the psalm can mean both situations if you look at both possible meanings of the word. Just another example of how rich God’s Word is – when we think we’ve got it pegged, it continues to surprise us!

  6. Melanie Bettinelli October 31, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    oooh that is interesting. I’ve been meaning to bug my sister into looking up the Hebrew word for me. (She took three semesters of Hebrew in college and can sometimes work out clunky translations with a dictionary and other reference books.) I’ve found translations that seemed to imply a nursing infant but more that imply a weaned child. Sometimes I wish I could go back to school and learn Hebrew and learn to read the Psalms in the original.

  7. Melanie Bettinelli October 31, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    And then there’s St Augustine’s commentary.

  8. GeekLady November 1, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    This isn’t meant to be mean at all, but I’m just so relieved I’m not the only one with a boy-toddler who just wants to go home.  It makes me feel less lonely.

    I’m interested in your observations here, since you have both boys and girls, but it seems to me that boys are more restless during Mass and give a harder time.

  9. Melanie Bettinelli November 1, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Willa, Yes. Thank you for mentioning attachment theory. That was the connection I was making subconsciously but not quite getting all pieced together in my mind.

    Geek Lady,

    It is interesting to see how different boys and girls are. My girls have had occasional days of wanting to go home but are generally pretty content at Mass. Ben really has a hard time. He needs to be held and he especially has a hard time if we don’t remember his blankies. With blankies, however, he is fairly manageable as long as someone has arms free to hold him.

    Of course Anthony is only 8 months old so it’s hard to tell with him. But yes, all the anecdotal evidence I’ve collected does suggest that little boys have a much harder time.

  10. Willa October 31, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Thanks, Melanie, I like that, too!  It reminds me of some of the things I’ve read about attachment theory.  A child needs some level of safety and trust to be able to communicate distress; when I read the Psalms I am often impressed by the Psalmist’s boldness in crying out to God. 

    That’s interesting about the Hebrew, too. 

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